30 June 2014

BOOK REVIEW: At the Gates of Hell (Wunderwaffen #2)

At the Gates of Hell (Wunderwaffen #2)At the Gates of Hell (Wunderwaffen #2) by Richard D. Nolane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the summer of 1946 the war still rages in Europe after the surprise failure of the Normandy landings. Strange, revolutionary jets nicknamed WUNDERWAFFEN now defend Germany and the Allies race to halt what has become an aerial slaughter.
Hauptmann Walter Murnau, a talented pilot and man of honour, is personally decorated by Hitler and dubbed "The Devil's Pilot", instantly becoming a propaganda icon for the Nazi regime.
Now pursued by Hitler's vengeance, Murnau faces the Soviets alongside Hans Rudel, the living legend of the Luftwaffe and Stalin's nightmare. At the controls of his WUNDERWAFFEN on the Eastern Front, the gates of hell will suddenly gape open before him...



The next installment of this WWII alternate history graphic novel series is another action-packed affair that follows directly after "The Devil's Pilot" and the events take a more sinister turn. We learn of a new aspect of our main character Walter Murnau and see a glimpse of the direction that events will follow. A bit more is seen of the infamous Adolf Hitler in this one, and here the F├╝hrer is a little different to what we commonly accept due to having survived an assassination attempt that has left him disfigured and minus an arm (remember it's alternate history) and he's even more determined to see his 'solutions' implemented. It's packed with more aerial action, combat and dubious characters along with the many interesting aircraft (the 'Wunderwaffen') which are central to the story. The full-colour artwork is fantastic.

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Focke-Wulf Ta 183
Image courtesy of Luft '46

29 June 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Devil's Pilot (Wunderwaffen #1)

The Devil's Pilot (Wunderwaffen #1)The Devil's Pilot (Wunderwaffen #1) by Richard D. Nolane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the summer of 1946 the war still rages in Europe after the surprise failure of the Normandy landings. Strange, revolutionary jets nicknamed WUNDERWAFFEN now defend Germany and the Allies race to halt what has become an aerial slaughter.
Hauptmann Walter Murnau, a talented pilot and man of honour, is personally decorated by Hitler and dubbed “The Devil’s Pilot”, instantly becoming a propaganda icon for the Nazi regime. In a future where the bad is about to get worse, “The Devil’s Pilot” will learn that hell is never that far away...



The first in a series, this fun WW2 alternate history graphic novel is an easy read and the artwork is top notch. It's cool seeing some of the experimental prototype aircraft from WW2 Germany come to life as well as some rather notorious characters of the day. A little of the dialogue seemed a bit unusual and didn't seem to flow all that well to me, but I read the English edition that is translated from the original French so maybe that's the reason. This said, it's still really easy to read through, and the images help tremendously to follow the action.

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Lippisch P.13a
Image courtesy of Luft '46

06 June 2014

BOOK REVIEW: V-S Day: A Novel of Alternate History by Allen Steele

V-S Day: A Novel of Alternate HistoryV-S Day: A Novel of Alternate History by Allen Steele
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's 1941, and Wernher von Braun is ordered by his Fuehrer to abandon the V2 rocket and turn German resources in a daring new direction: construction of a manned orbital spacecraft capable of attacking the U.S. Work on the rocket—called Silbervogel—begins at Peenemunde. Though it is top secret, British intelligence discovers the plan, and brings word to Franklin Roosevelt. The American President determines that there is only one logical response: the U.S. must build a spacecraft capable of intercepting Silbervogel and destroying it. Robert Goddard, inventor of the liquid-fuel rocket, agrees to head the classified project.
So begins a race against time—between two secret military programs and two brilliant scientists whose high-stakes competition will spiral into a deadly game of political intrigue and unforeseen catastrophes played to the death in the brutal skies above America.


A true fun read, and genuine page-turner. The basic concept of this book appealed to me when I first saw it, a combination of World War Two thriller, alternative history and hard sci-fi. The real bones of the plot is actually based on fact, with characters and places borrowed from real life and woven together with a conceivable story to form a great whole. The cover image is a little misleading, although it does portray the general idea of the story. The plot assumes that science is somewhat further ahead in 1941 than it actually was, and that's the 'alternate history' part of it at work. As I read this book, it seemed to me that the story would be well suited to a younger audience but the subject matter is probably more attractive to a middle-aged or older reader. Overall I can't really fault it, and Steele shows that he is a top author worthy of his success. If you like a swift and captivating storyline, action and intrigue, good guys and bad guys (Nazis) and a whole lot of fun, then read this.

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02 June 2014

The Moon Is Hollow And This Is Why

Our mysterious moon - what exactly is it?
“What in blazes is our Moon doing way out there? It’s too far out to be a true satellite of Earth, it is too big to have been captured by the Earth. The chances of such a capture having been effected and the Moon then having taken up a nearly circular orbit about the Earth are too small to make such an eventuality credible...But, then, if the Moon is neither a true satellite of the Earth nor a captured one, what is it?”
 Isaac Asimov, Asimov on Astronomy, Doubleday, 1974; Mercury Press 1963; also quoted in Don Wilson’s book, Our Mysterious Spaceship Moon (1975)

Have you ever stopped to wonder why and how the moon is so wonderfully in sync with the Earth, like how the rotation is locked with it's orbit around Earth or that it so perfectly blots out the sun during a solar eclipse? I have, but I don't know why. It seems to me that things seem just a little bit too "right" for the moon to be a random bit of ejecta or captured space debris.

The article HERE offers some interesting hypotheses that explore what our moon may or may not actually be.

Courtesy of http://www.collective-evolution.com/